2016 Events, Talks & Guided Visits

Annual Gardner-Medwin Lecture 2016 – Walter Keeler

Thursday 20 October 2016, 2.30pm

We are delighted that the acclaimed studio potter Walter Keeler will deliver an illustrated talk about his work for our annual lecture in memory of the founder of the Bluecoat Display Centre, Robert Gardner-Medwin. This event coincides with a major solo exhibition of Walter’s work at the Display Centre.

“The pottery tradition is at the heart of all my work. Pottery for use has been central to all settled human communities. Seldom merely functional, it has been a vehicle for expression and the fulfilment of a delight in the pleasure of handling a sensual and incredibly versatile material; the useful bound up with the intellect and the imagination.

I discovered pottery as a boy, becoming intimate with fragments of ancient pots picked up on the beaches of the Thames in London. They infiltrated my mind and my senses, giving me an insight to the syntax of thrown pottery; a sense of what is authentic, which I only fully understood as I gained experience in the craft.

So my work is informed by my passion for pots from the past, but also by making and firing, and the world and times in which I live. Sometimes I make simple useful things like mugs or jugs, on other occasions my work is less straightforward, making demands, even challenging the user to negotiate with an unexpected pot to do an ordinary job. I hope my pottery brings with its seriousness, some humour and sensual pleasure.” – Walter Keeler

Meet the Maker – Attila Olah

Saturday 24 September 2016, 2.30pm – 3.30pm

at the Bluecoat Display Centre

Our Liverpool Hope University Graduate Prize winner for 2016, Attila Olah, whose ceramics will be In the Window for the month of September, will give a free talk about his ceramic work.

The talk will also give the opportunity to see and hear about the unique way Attila works with ceramics and ice.

Attila specialises in ceramics and ice sculpture. Alongside his recently completed studies at Liverpool Hope, Attila has worked with Glacial Art to produce ice sculptures for global TV phenomenon Game of Thrones. After applying for a summer placement with world renowned ceramicist Claudi Casanovas, he was also offered a year-long apprenticeship opportunity with Casanovas in Catalonia. Attila returned to his studies at Liverpool Hope after his year out, using what he had learned about the mediums of both ice and ceramics to inform his work for his degree show, which includes ceramic bowls suspended in ice.

Guided Visit – The Hepworth Wakefield

Thursday 22 September 2016

Meeting at Bluecoat Display Centre at 08.40am, minibus to depart Liverpool by 8.45am for Wakefield.

With over 1,600 square metres of light-filled gallery spaces, The Hepworth Wakefield is the largest purpose-built exhibition space outside London. In designing The Hepworth Wakefield, David Chipperfield Architects responded imaginatively to the gallery’s waterfront setting. The building complements the scale and form of the existing industrial buildings and, like them, appears to rise out of the River Calder. The gallery brings together work from Wakefield’s art collection, exhibitions by contemporary artists and rarely seen works by Barbara Hepworth.

With a café, shop, learning studios, unique conference venue, and exciting events programme, the gallery is a place to explore art, architecture and your imagination.


10.30am – Arrival and refreshments at The Hepworth, followed by a guided tour around the gallery, and introduction to the work and spaces with a member of their Visitor Experience Team.

Besides the permanent collection of Barbara Hepworth’s sculptures and artwork, consisting of 44 full size, rarely seen working models – surviving prototypes in plaster and aluminium made in preparation for the works in bronze Hepworth executed from the mid-1950s to the end of her career.

There will also be an exhibition of Stanley Spencer: Of Angels and Dirt, the first major survey in 15 years of the work of one of Britain’s best loved painters. Presented during the 125th anniversary of Spencer’s birth, the exhibition brings together over 70 works spanning his entire career, including rarely-seen self-portraits and extracts from his diaries and writings offering a unique insight into his life and work.

Plus an opportunity to see, for the first time, exciting works from the Tim Sayer Bequest, one of the most significant gifts to Wakefield by a private collector. It brings together approximately 100 works drawn from Tim Sayer’s collection, which he has passionately built up over the last five decades, including works by artists such as Alexander Calder, Prunella Clough, Sonia Delaunay, Naum Gabo, David Hockney, Paul Nash, Gerhard Richter and Bridget Riley among many others.

12.45pm – Lunch in the Gallery Café Bar. We will arrange a menu with the café staff to ensure that we are served promptly and so enjoy maximum time in the Galleries.

1.30pm – Viewing of galleries independently.

The minibus will depart at 3.30pm, to return to Liverpool City Centre by 6pm.

Artist Talk – Alan Phillips

Tuesday 20 September 2016, 1.30pm

The Athenaeum, Church Alley, Liverpool

As part of Bluecoat Display Centre’s ongoing programme of exciting artist’s talks, the next event will feature jeweller Alan Phillips. Alan will speak about his artistic career.

During his career as a University lecturer in Design, teaching here and in the USA, Alan has been exposed to many disciplines within the subject area of Art and Design. He therefore has a wide range of influences. Alan uses precious materials but has also incorporated others in past work eg. wood, plastics and glass.

A traditional afternoon tea in the grand setting of The Athenaeum will follow the talk.

This event is open to current and new subscribing Friends of Bluecoat Display Centre and Members of The Athenaeum. Attendees must be over the age of 14.

Meet the Maker – Hugh Miller

Saturday 10 September 2016, 2.30pm – 3.30pm

at the Bluecoat Display Centre

Take the unique opportunity to meet Liverpool furniture maker Hugh Miller who will talk informally about the tools, techniques and philosophies of Japanese wood craftsmanship, and how these have influenced Hugh’s new collection of pieces that will be on display in ‘Contemporary Construction’ from 26 August to 25 September 2016, with textiles by Rita Parniczky, at the Display Centre.

“I’m also going to be speaking about how Japanese society influences and enriches Japan’s craft culture which, I think, is integral to what makes it so special.

During my architectural education, I became interested in Japanese design, and this is a subject that I have been fascinated with ever since. For eight weeks at the end of 2015 I travelled in Japan, as a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellow, in order to research the tools, techniques and philosophy of Japan’s unique woodworking culture.” – Hugh Miller

Hugh will be available to answer questions at the end of his talk over refreshments.

Charity Fundraiser Event

with Sue Beck, Hope University Carter Preston Archivist & Emma Rodgers

Thursday 14 July 2016, 6.30pm – 9pm

The evening will begin at the Display Centre with the opportunity to view our new Julia Carter Preston Prize Exhibition of the six shortlisted emerging ceramic artist’s work over a complementary glass of fizz.

We will then move over to the Performance Space in the Bluecoat main building to listen to an illustrated talk by Hope University Carter Preston Archivist, Sue Beck, on Julia Carter Preston’s work and her techniques.

The evening will culminate with the rare opportunity to see a modelling demonstration by the acclaimed artist Emma Rodgers. The ticket price will include automatic entry into our prize draw with the chance to win Emma’s piece from the demo after completion and firing.

“Emma Rodgers is now recognised as one of Britain’s leading ceramic sculptors. She has a particularly probing insight into both the action and tenderness of the animal world. It is a subject she invests not with sentimentality (as is often the case) or saccharine blandness, but with its full power and life force. Her wild hares, bulls and ravens, her human dancers are often expressed – in bronze as well as clay- in a heightened sense of movement or tension, absorbed in the trials and dramas of existence.” – David Whiting (Art critic & writer)

All funds raised will go towards our local artist led outreach programme.

Guided Visit – Manchester Art Gallery & Manchester Craft and Design Centre

Wednesday 18 May 2016

The day will start at the Display Centre at 9.15am with a talk about our current exhibition Eastern Aesthetic by curator Frances Gill, followed by refreshments.

We’ll then leave by coach to Manchester Art Gallery to view their Modern Japanese Design exhibition which provides an overview of the past fifty years of Japanese design, the visit will include a talk by one of the exhibition’s curators.

This will be followed by a visit to the Manchester Craft and Design Centre (MCDC); a hidden gem in Manchester’s Northern Quarter which houses 18 craft and design artists studios alongside a programme of exhibitions, workshops and events. There will be the opportunity to have lunch on arrival here at the Oak St. cafe. The MCDC’s exhibitions and events manager Kaylee Jenkinson will give talk about the Centre and their current exhibition; ‘Behind Closed Doors: Ceramics by Verity Howard’.

This will be followed by an opportunity to hear from one of the artists, Tracey Birchwood, a contemporary jeweller working in porcelain we’ve shown at the Display Centre for many years, who will give an informal talk about her life as a jeweller working at the Centre. You will then have the chance to browse the other studios and chat to the artists about their work.

The coach will leave MCDC around 3.30pm to return to Liverpool.

Meet the Maker – Jin Eui Kim for LightNight 2016

Friday 13 May 2016, 5pm – 7pm

at the Bluecoat Display Centre

To celebrate LightNight 2016, ceramic artist Jin Eui Kim will be giving a talk about his work here at Bluecoat Display Centre. His beautiful ceramics are currently on display In the Window until the end of May. There will also be an opportunity to ask Jin questions and hear more about his artistic career.

Jin Eui Kim uses subtle tones of colour and monochrome applied to the surface of ceramics to explore how perception can be altered. He graduates each line and uses different types of width, interval, tone and spacing to create various impressions to the eye.

Jin says of his work “My work explores how the perception of three-dimensional ceramic forms can be manipulated by the application of arrangements of bands on their surfaces. Depending on the arrangement of tonal bands, using gradients of width, interval or tone and contrast, illusory spatial phenomena can appear and thus significantly influence the actual three-dimensional forms.

The duration of viewer’s attention, viewer’s position, tone or colour of the background are also crucial influencing factors for the creation of such illusions. The illusory phenomena created in these ways are intended to be intriguing, to capture the viewer’s imagination, and to offer new possibilities for the decoration of ceramic artworks.”

His work was recently featured in the ‘Ornament‘ exhibition area of Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair 2015 in Manchester. Bluecoat Display Centre are delighted to exhibit his work for the month of May in 2016.

We will be open till 7pm on LightNight to celebrate the evening.

Artist Talk – Verity Pulford

Tuesday 5 April 2016, 1.30pm

The Athenaeum, Church Alley, Liverpool

As part of Bluecoat Display Centre’s ongoing programme of exciting artist’s talks, the next event will feature glass artist Verity Pulford. Verity creates wall pieces, functional ware, jewellery and architectural commissions using fusing, sandblasting, hand-painting and etching. Her inspiration comes from the stunning countryside and wildlife in North Wales. Verity is fascinated by the ever changing light and the magical qualities this gives the plants and trees within the landscape. Her work is constantly evolving, every piece being unique.

A traditional afternoon tea in the grand setting of The Athenaeum will follow the talk.

This event is open to current and new subscribing Friends of Bluecoat Display Centre and Members of The Athenaeum. Attendees must be over the age of 14.

Guided Visit – Horse and Bamboo Puppet Theatre Company & Haworth Gallery

Thursday 10 March 2016

To continue our popular programme of trips within Liverpool and further afield, our first 2016 event will be to Lancashire.


Meet outside Bluecoat Display Centre, by College Lane entrance at 9am, depart by minibus at 9.15am.

Visit to Horse and Bamboo Puppet Theatre Company in Rossendale.

Coffee on arrival (included in price) followed by a tour of the puppets, their props and a talk about the work of this imaginative mixed media theatre company.

We will then travel the short distance to the Haworth Gallery in Accrington for a light lunch (not included in the cost for the day) in the Kitchen café, followed by a talk and viewing of their Tiffany Glass collection.

Arrival back in Liverpool City Centre by 5pm.

The day will be led by BDC friends, Gill Curry and Linda Jones.

Artist Talk – Alan Whittaker

Tuesday 23 February 2016, 1.30pm

The Athenaeum, Church Alley, Liverpool

As part of Bluecoat Display Centre’s ongoing programme of exciting artist’s talks, the next event will feature ceramic artist Alan Whittaker. Alan will speak about his career in ceramics and education, as Associate Professor of Design at Liverpool Hope University.

Alan creates unique and elegant Bone China vessels. Drawing is fundamental to his ceramic practice. He aims to draw with light through the use of translucency and perforations in Bone China. Alan uses sand-blasting techniques and pierced relief decoration onto the translucent surfaces of Bone China.

A traditional afternoon tea in the grand setting of The Athenaeum will follow the talk.

This event is open to current and new subscribing Friends of Bluecoat Display Centre and Members of The Athenaeum. Attendees must be over the age of 14.